Un-nesting

In our family we like to nest. My grandmother is no exception. We are giving up her apartment, because she will be remaining at a skilled nursing facility. It just isn’t safe or reasonable for her to be without access to care 24 hours a day.

Un-nesting her is a significant effort: her apartment was stuffed, every nook and cranny full of trinkets and memorabilia. The walls covered with paintings and other art to where not much wall showed through, even at that there were a couple of boxes of framed items that were never unpacked from when we mover her up from California over two years ago. And a few items are in the backs of closets.

The holiday season isn’t optimal for dealing with this change: I’ve spent many hours this past week enfolding fragile trinkets in bubble wrap. Things that probably won’t be unwrapped again by us. The stuff of life, treasured and carefully tended for so long, sits in boxes, waiting until someone who is more emotionally distant sends them off to a new home. As a result of this time we aren’t having a family Thanksgiving. Some of us will be joining Grandma at the nursing home for dinner there.

I’ve sent many things off to charity: outfits that will never again fit, clothing items that are too hard to get on and off. Kitchen items that no one in the family needs right now (more of that to come). But mostly I kept things, carefully wrapping up favorite dishes and glassware, fancy china serving pieces. and so on. Maybe a great grand-child setting up a home will need them in a few years.

This “un-nesting” is the antithesis of what most people are doing over the holidays. I feel out of sync. Unlike my cat, the Empress, who settles in anywhere.

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